What does Garmin's recovery time mean – and do you really need to rest for 48 hours?

Tired trail runner taking a break
(Image credit: Getty Images)

So you've just finished a run and you're scrolling through the stats on your Garmin watch. Distance, pace, heart rate, stamina – wait, what's this? Recovery time 48 hours? How can that be right? 

Don't worry, you don't need to toss your training plan out the window. Well, probably not. Despite the way it might sound, Garmin's recovery time metric isn't an estimate of how long you should wait before your next training session in order to reduce the risk of injury, but how long it'll take before your body is ready for another session at the same intensity.

So if you've just completed your long run for the week, you can still do a recovery run or base training on the following days. Just don't go hell for leather two days in a row.

How is recovery time calculated?

Depending on your recent workload, general fitness, and the intensity of your workout recovery time forecast will vary from a few hours to four days. It's calculated using the training effect of your activity, how much time was already on your recovery clock when you started, and a wealth of data from the Firstbeat Algorithm, including heart rate variability and training load.

Newer watches (like the Garmin Venu 3) will also factor in stress levels, quality of sleep, and daily activity levels to give a more accurate figure. Seeing something different on your phone from your watch? Don't worry, the Garmin Connect app will update once your device syncs.

It's only a suggestion, but recovery time is a tool that can potentially help you avoid overtraining, understand the type of training that would benefit you right now (are you ready for an intense session or a gentle jog?) and generally train smarter.

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 15 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better), usually wearing at least two sports watches.